How to use the Italian verbs Prendere and Portare

These two verbs are commonly misunderstood, but cannot be interchanged as their meanings are different. Learn more about How to use the Italian verbs Prendere and Portare to improve your language learning and avoid mistakes.

So how can we tell when to use the verb prendere and when to use the verb portare?

Note these 2 different sentences and use them as a reference to understand the difference between the verb Prendere and Portare.

  • Porto i libri in biblioteca  – I’m taking the books to the library
  • Prendo i libri dalla biblioteca – I’m taking the books from the library

As you can see in these examples, in English we use take but in Italian, we use two different verbs.

How to use the Italian verbs Prendere and Portare:

Find the differences:

How to use the Italian verbs Prendere and Portare
How to use the Italian verbs Prendere and Portare


Prendere describes the action of taking someone or something toward us. In other words, to pick someone up, to collect, or get something. 

➟ to take (trasporto);

Prendo dei soldi in banca per comprare una bicicletta  I take some money from the bank to buy a bicycle.

➟ to get, catch;

Devo prendere la macchina dal garage  I have to get the car from the garage.

➟ pickup (s.o./something);

Vado a prendere Sofia alla stazione  I’m going to pick up Sofia at the station.

Remember that prendere can have a variety of meanings depending on the situation.

You can use the verb prendere to say that you are having food, drinks and medicine.

➟ will have (food & drink)

Prendo un cornetto e un caffè   I’ll have a croissant and an espresso 


In a Bar
 Cosa prendi? Prendo un caffè

  • Prendere un aperitivo
  • Prendere la medicina

More examples:

  • Ha preso il libro dal tavolo  he picked up / took the book from the table
  • L’ho preso dal cassetto  took/got it out of the drawer
  • Vieni a prendermi alla stazione  come and pick me up / fetch me from the station
  • Vai a prendermi gli occhiali?  are you going to get my glasses?
  • Ha preso il treno  He took the train, he went by train
  • Prendi qualcosa da mangiare?(o da bere)  Would you like something to eat (or drink)?
    Prendo un caffè  I’ll have a coffee


We use the Italian verb “portare” if the location indicates the final destination of the motion action (the place people are travelling to/toward).

Portare it’s used to describe the action of taking something or someone somewhere.

In English, we can translate these sentences with the verb:

➟ to bring, to bear, to carry, to wear;

Potresti portare qui quel libro? ➱ Could you bring that book here?

Potresti portare la televisione dalla cucina alla sala da pranzo? Could you take/carry the television from the kitchen to the dining room?

➟ to take someone or something somewhere;

Porto mio figlio alla stazione ➱ I’m taking my son to the station

➟ to lead someplace

Questa strada porta alla foresta ➱ This road leads to the forest.

More Examples:

  • portare qualcuno alla stazione  to take someone to the station
  • porta il libro in cucina  close to the speaker  bring the book into the kitchen!
  • porta il libro in cucina  away from the speaker  take the book into the kitchen!
  • portami un bicchiere  bring me a glass
  • puoi portarmi la valigia?  Can you carry my case for me?
  • Portare via  to take away
  • Dove porta questa strada?  where does this road lead?

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